Sunday, July 20, 2014

More High Country Digging

When the weather gets warm and the ground gets hard, in the flatlands, the high country is the place to be if your looking to dig some bottles.

Even though taxpayer funded non profit entities like the Nature Conservatory are gobbling up huge tracts of land in the Sierra Nevada mountains and closing them to public access there is still plenty of private property to dig in the Sierra's - not all of the ground is public domain and off limits to diggers.

A nice early eastern spice bottle 

Two examples of high country digging. Even though these are early eastern blown bottles they come out of the ground as clean as the mountain air.

Old Cutter's was famous for saying " just give em' a good blast with the garden hose and they will come out clean as a whistle"


  1. Does anyone know if "nugget" or "coin hunting" is allowed any longer in the national forests of northern California. Is it ok to metal detecting in old hydraulic diggings?

  2. Max Bell,
    Can you answer this question

  3. That spice looks more western than a cowboy !

    1. This gold rush era use of this private property site predates the establishment of western glasshouses. I guess its back to the old argument : If its dug in the west is it western?

      There are hundreds of eastern bottles that look like they were blown in the west. Mold makers that are attributed to western glass houses cut their teeth in the east. Just because a bottle comes out of the ground clean doesn't mean its western.

  4. The following is a reply from the USFS to an email regarding this very question. Read between the lines and try to figure out what it really means. Better yet, put your attorney on retainer in advance of detecting...


    Metal detecting is a legitimate means of locating gold or other mineral specimens and can be an effective prospecting tool for locating larger mineral deposits. This activity can also be conducted as a recreational activity locating lost coins, jewelry or other incidental metallic items of little historical value. Prospecting using a metal detector can be conducted under the General Mining Laws and is covered under the Forest Service 36 CFR 228A locatable mineral regulations for lands open to mineral entry. Metal detecting for treasure trove or lost items such as coins and jewelry is managed as a non minerals-related recreation activity. It is Forest Service policy that the casual collection of rocks and mineral samples is allowed on the National Forests.

    Metal detecting is a low surface impact activity that involves digging small holes rarely more than six inches deep. Normally, metal detecting does not require a notice of intent or written authorization since it only involves searching for and occasionally removing small rock samples or mineral specimens (36 CFR 228.4(a)).

    Metal detectors may be used on public land in areas that do not contain or would not reasonably be expected to contain archaeological or historical resources. Normally, developed campgrounds, swimming beaches, and other developed recreation sites are open to recreational metal detecting unless there are archaeological or historical resources present. In such cases, forest supervisors are authorized to close the area to metal detecting and the closure would be posted at the site. Such closure notices are not always practical in undeveloped areas, and federal agencies have not identified every archaeological site on public lands. It is possible, therefore, that you may encounter such archaeological remains that have not yet been documented or an area that is not closed even though it does indeed contain such remains. Archaeological remains on public land are protected under law. If you were to discover such remains, you should leave them undisturbed and notify a FS office.

    The purpose of the restrictions to metal detecting on public lands is to protect historical remains. The Code of Federal Regulations, (36 CFR 261.9) states, "The following are prohibited: (g) Digging in, excavating, disturbing, injuring, destroying, or in any way damaging any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resources, structure, site, artifact, or property. (h) Removing any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resources, structure, site, artifact, property." The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA, 16 U.S.C. 470cc also prohibits these activities, stating, "No person may excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface or attempt to excavate, remove, damage or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resources located on public lands or Indian lands unless such activity is pursuant to a permit...” ARPA exempts the collection of coins for personal use if the coins are not in an archaeological context. In some cases, historically significant coins and other metallic artifacts may be part of an historical-period archaeological site, in which case they would be considered archaeological resources and are protected under law. These laws apply to all National Forest System land and do not vary from state to state.

    End of Section 1
    Section 2 follows under separate reply.

  5. ---------------------------------------
    Section 2

    Four forms of metal detector use are recognized.
    1. Searching for treasure trove: Treasure trove is defined as money, gems, or precious metals in the form of coin, plate, or bullion that has been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovering it later. This activity requires a Special Use Permit under The Act of June 4, 1897 (16 U.S.C. 551). Forest Service Manual 2724.4 states “allow persons to search for buried treasure on National Forest System lands, but protect the rights of the public regarding ownership of or claims on any recovered property.”

    2. Prospecting: Using a metal detector to locate gold or other mineral deposits is an allowed activity under the General Mining Laws and is subject to the 36 CFR 228A regulations. A Notice of Intent (36 CFR 228.4(a)) is normally not required for prospecting using a metal detector. A Notice of Intent (NOI) is required for any prospecting which might cause disturbance of surface resources. A plan of operation is required for any prospecting that will likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources. Normal metal detecting does not cause surface impacts that require either a NOI or a Plan of Operation. People who use metal detectors for prospecting should bear in mind that many of the mineralized lands within the National Forests and open to mineral entry have been “claimed” by others who have sole right to prospect and develop the mineral resources found on the mining claim. A search of County and Bureau of Land Management records should be made prior to prospecting to determine if an area has been claimed.
    Normally, any gold found can be removed and kept. If the removal of the gold, rocks, or minerals might cause disturbance of surface resources, beyond digging a small shallow hole, a NOI may be required.

    3. Searching for historic or prehistoric artifacts: Using a metal detector to locate archaeological or historical remains is subject to the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) as amended and requires a special use permit. Such permits are granted for scientific research only, however, there are many ways to get involved with organized, scientific research. See below for ways to use metal detectors for this purpose under sanctioned public archaeology programs.
    4. Recreational pursuits: The most common form of metal detector use is searching for lost coins, jewelry, and incidental metal items having no historical value. Such use is common in developed campgrounds, swimming areas, and picnic areas and requires no permit. However, one must assume personal responsibility to notice if the area may indeed contain archaeological or historical resources and if it does, cease metal detecting and notify a Forest Service office. Not doing so may result in prosecution under the Code of Federal Regulations or ARPA.

  6. Gotta love how those Libtard bureacrats word things ! My fave is "remains"...... as to make a person who metal detects on Federal (our) lands appear equivalent to that of a grave least in the eyes of their Libtard voting base

  7. Rick Google metal detecting laws what you should know for more info on this Bruce covered it well but beware ...there is a clause that says you can not disturb the surface of the soil to recover your target. we were told no man made tools can be used not even a spoon we were told to dig with the toe of our boots or not at all Idiots pretending to be protecting SIGNIFICANT cultural resources. MAX

  8. Yikes! This is way more complicated than I ever imagined. Thanks to everyone who contributed to answering may question. It sure isn't like the "good old days" of the 1970s anymore....guess I need to get with the program.

  9. Nice clean beautiful bottles earned the hard way, but more gratifying when dug by oneself! Hopefully next dig will bring a nice surprise.